Queensland in Australia has announced that its biggest ever road upgrade programme will be launched this year, with A$23bn being invested on roads and transportation.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said shovels would hit the ground this year on major projects along the length of the Bruce Highway, while billions of dollars will be invested on upgrades of the M1, Ipswich Motorway, Capricorn Highway and Smithfield Bypass.

Last October, the Bruce Highway upgrade on the Sunshine Coast was awarded to HAS Group. The jointly funded contract is valued at A$812m.

The project is expected to break ground this year.

Bailey added: “From Weipa to Coolangatta, the outback to the coast, thousands of tradies are getting on with the job of building new roads.

“Queenslanders are already seeing major road projects nearing completion in places like Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Central Queensland, Wide Bay, the southeast and across regional Queensland, but that’s just the tip of iceberg.”

The upgrade programme is expected to generate more than 21,500 job opportunities.

More than 6,000 workers are helping to maintain the state’s 33,000km road network due to A$1bn of investment for road maintenance, the minister said.

Queensland has recently constructed the A$1.6bn Toowoomba Bypass, invested $1bn towards the upgrade of the Gateway Motorway to link its ports with the Bruce Highway, and opened up the $512m Logan Enhancement Project.

Some of the major projects to undergo construction in 2020 include the A$1bn Bruce Highway upgrade from Cooroy to Curra Section D, the A$1bn M1 upgrade from Varsity Lakes to Tugun near the NSW border, and the A$662m Bruce Highway upgrade from Caboolture to Steve Irwin Way.

Major projects that have commenced construction include the A$104m Cairns Southern Access upgrade from Kate Street to Aumuller Street, the A$514m Haughton River Floodplain project at Giru, 40km south of Townsville, and the A$497m Mackay Ring Road.